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Forget, MH; Platt, T; Sathyendranath, S; Fanning, P (2011). Phytoplankton size structure, distribution, and primary production as the basis for trophic analysis of Caribbean ecosystems. ICES JOURNAL OF MARINE SCIENCE, 68(4), 751-765.

An oceanographic survey was conducted in Caribbean waters in April and May 2006 to assess the marine ecosystem in the context of a trophic analysis of the foodweb. Analyses of pigment and absorption data revealed that the phytoplankton community was dominated by pico- and nanophytoplankton, particularly at the deep chlorophyll maximum. Based on cluster analysis of remotely sensed data, three dynamic provinces were defined for the region. A 5-year time-series of sea surface temperature and chlorophyll concentration provided information on the annual cycle of these properties. To implement the computation of primary production on a synoptic scale, parameters characterizing the biomass profiles and photosynthesis-irradiance relationships were assigned using four protocols: two regional approaches, a regression with surface chlorophyll, and the nearest-neighbour method (NNM), which has the advantage of assigning parameters on a pixel-by-pixel basis. Monthly images of primary production were computed over an annual cycle using MODIS chlorophyll a concentration. The NNM and the use of dynamic provinces emerged as the methods of choice for parameter assignment. Finally, a new approach from remotely sensed data was developed to estimate production-to-carbon ratios, a key input to Ecopath models. The results contribute to ecotrophic analysis of the Lesser Antilles Pelagic Ecosystem project.



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